If you are anything like me, you’re still trying to make sense of the “new normal” of life. Some days it sounds like all restrictions are about to be lifted and we will be back to the way it was in no time. Other days it sounds like this could go on until September or December. Sheesh!
We all have a lot of questions. I’m sure you have some questions even about our church, our ministries, and what we are doing. I thought it would be a good idea to address some of them here to keep us all connected and on the same page. This way we can think, pray, and work together still.
You may have been wondering, “What about…” this or that. Let me answer a few of those questions. (Sorry if I don’t talk about your particular question. Email me if you have others I can answer.)
SERVICE & SERMON ISSUES
Click below for details.
What about the next series?
I’ve heard that word from more than one church member describing how they feel. We will be looking at both Old and New Testament passages related to issues of worry, fear, anxiety, and discouragement.
(Subscribe to our Youtube channel.)
This series was not originally planned but seems best right now. My prayer is that God will use His word to calm our hearts, encourage our souls, and refocus our attention on Christ – so that we will be overwhelmed, not by worry and anxiety, but by His love and goodness.
(After this series I have scheduled the book of Jude. But we will see how the Lord leads.)
What about the text schedule?
Go to our “Upcoming Sermons” page on the church website.
Given this season, we will only be scheduling and publishing one month at a time (rather than three).
What about a "live" service?
While I do have some theological reservations about live or “virtual” church services, the main reason we are pre-recording messages is practical.
Prior to this stay-at-home order, we were not recording or uploading any videos at all. We had to learn all of this and be able to do it in about two weeks’ time. Furthermore, doing it live adds some complicating factors as well as aesthetic concerns. (Pre-recording ensures that we have something available whereas live feeds can have glitches and troubles.)
Not knowing how long this would last, I decided that whatever content we upload should be simple, high-quality, and watchable – and we’ve focused on our Bible messages. In addition, Jill Murphy has been publishing regular Worship Playlists on Spotify specifically for our FBC family.
If this stretches on, we may experiment with more variety in our videos – including music elements, interviews, Q&A, and who knows what else.
(Just a reminder: we could not have done any of this without our deacons Owen Fahy and Clint Hunter working hard behind the scenes! We owe them a HUGE thank you.)
Speaking of “live” events though – this Wednesday, April 29, Reed and I will be hosting a Facebook Live Q&A called “Pepper the Pastors” from 7:00-8:00pm.
You can ask questions about Bible, theology, church, life, or whatever. We may regret it – but I’ll try anything once. Haha! Even if no one asks any questions, Reed and I will have a good time together.
Join us on Facebook Live!
What about communion?
I don’t know about you, but I miss the Lord’s Supper. As a church, we partake monthly and it feels like it’s been an eternity since we have celebrated it together. I can’t wait to do it again.
But I have some reservations about doing it at home alone. For starters, as the BF&M states, Baptists historically and doctrinally view the Lord’s Supper as a “church ordinance.” Also, in 1 Corinthians, when writing about the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, Paul specifically says, “when you come together.” He does not say it once. Or twice. He says those words five times! It seems clear to me that this ordinance is designed to be done in a corporate gathering.
I do not think it is a sin to take it under your pastor’s leadership in an online format, but I do think it’s best to wait until we can “come together” as Scripture says. It is always good to remember the body and blood of Christ. It is always beneficial. But there is a time to feast and a time to fast, grieve, and mourn.
Right now, we are fasting from the Supper while anticipating and longing for the joyful reunion of being together and celebrating at our Elder Brother’s Table once again. What a day that will be!
What about Members' Mtg?
What about returning?
As of now, our governor has set an initial June 10 date. Who knows if that will be shortened or extended?
Based on recent federal guidelines, there will also be a slow, multi-week re-phasing back into any events or gatherings it seems. (And that may even bounce back and forth as cases rise or fall.) Many who are elderly or have small children may voluntarily restrict interactions.
All in all, I do not envision the world instantly snapping back into life as it was.
To borrow a phrase from the corporate world, our elders have talked about having a “soft opening” whenever the time comes, with casual, informal gatherings to see who comes out. We may even start with having one service again.
Presumably, some of our ministries will have to assess volunteers, schedules, and other factors that have been disrupted. (Most of our area college students will not be with us until August. Their involvement will also impact many areas.)
All of these ideas are just that, ideas and speculations. They are subject to change based on government direction, wisdom, and what is best for our congregation.
Click below for details.
What about the offering?
This is a financially challenging time for everyone, especially donation-based groups – like non-profits and churches.
Praise God, though – you have been faithful to give and He has been faithful to provide through you!
While we are not meeting budget (about -5% YTD), the staff and ministries are limiting our spending to essentials which has insured that we are covering our expenses. Our weekly budget need is a little over $17,000 and during the last four Sundays we have averaged around $16,000.
Thank you, church family, for your discipline, commitment, and faithfulness to honor the Lord and give to His kingdom! Your giving makes a difference for our church and for the work of the SBC at large.
What about giving options?
As a reminder, you can give four ways:
1. Online via our safe/secure portal.
2. Via your bank “Bill Pay” (no fees to the church or you.) See your bank for details.
3. Mail it to the church.
4. Drop it off during office hours.
(The tellers are still counting, recording, and depositing weekly.)
What about AAEO?
We will collect through the end of the month.
What about those in need?
(If, by the way, you have experienced job or financial loss, and are in need, please let me or one of our elders know ASAP.)
Scripture tells us, in Acts 2:45, that the early church was sharing with one another, “as anyone might have need.” As a church, we are committed to helping our members and church family who may be impacted. We have a benevolence fund set up to assist.
While I have not heard of any major economic fallout for anyone in our church, it may still be coming if this lingers. We need to be prepared for that. Some in our church have even decided to give their government stimulus money to our benevolence fund to help those in need. I cannot think of a more compassionate, Christ-like gift.
We will do what we can to assist, help, and make sure that no one in our flock goes without.
Click below for details.
What about the new logo?
We owe a huge thank you to Mark Hernandez who helped us redesign our logo and much of our printed materials. It is a nice refreshed design of our SBC icon.
It links us with our past but modernizes the look for the future – keeping the Bible, the cross, and world in focus, as they should be.
(Tell Mark thanks for his time and efforts!)
What about 12:04 prayer?
That is still happening! The time is random but the purpose is not.
The 12:04pm (lunch) prayer time is still a daily opportunity that I’m encouraging all of our church to pause, for just a moment, and pray for one another.
Set a reminder on your phone. Write it on your to-do list. Pray consistently for our flock, even if it’s not at 12:04pm.
The church is keeping an updated, weekly prayer journal. While we do not want to publicly post prayer needs online for anyone to see, we are emailing that list each Wednesday to those who sign up.
Contact our church office if you’re interested.
What about the directory?
It refreshes data each time it is opened, so the information is up to date. If you need to change your number or email, contact the church office and we can do that.
Please keep using it to contact those in your Sunday School class or others you may be missing. We can’t gather with “one another” but we can still obey many of the other “one another” passages using our phones, computers, and prayers.
What about Guatemala?
Keep praying for Pastor Miguel and the church to spread the word in the meantime.
What about VBS?
While we have not officially decided, it seems next to impossible to do VBS in June at this point. It takes months of planning and preparation and cannot be thrown together in a few weeks (assuming June 10 is our liberation day.)
Postponing it for later this year may be possible but not practical given the volunteers needed and other potential restrictions that may come.
Pray that we have wisdom as we make these decisions.
(FYI – We have purchased most of the material for VBS this year but plan to use it whenever we do schedule our next VBS, even if that is next year.)
What about the SBC?
The SBC meeting has been canceled.
Without going into too many details, the SBC will function for another year under the same processes and budgetary guidelines of the previous year. (You can find more on their website.)
The next SBC Annual Meeting will be in June 2021.